Help! Should this doorway be widened?
November 27, 2012 in Design Dilemma
Our home is a 1980's center hall colonial. The center hallway leads back to the kitchen, and there is a short wall with a (broken) pocket door that goes to the dining room (1st picture). When we remove the pocket door, should we widen the doorway? If so, how wide? Do we remove the wall entirely, or widen doorway to a "door and half" width? Or is it better to leave the wall intact? The 2nd picture shows the back of the same wall, from the dining room side.
Thanks for your help!
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Cynthia Taylor-Luce
Keep in mind that when you widen the doorway you'll have an issue with the flooring. Are you planning on putting a new floor throughout this space? Your decision should be based on what you prefer. Do you feel the dining room is too formal and separate from the rest of the house? Does open plan living appeal to you? Do you need wall space to accommodate furniture or artwork? There's no right or wrong answer. You just need to decide if you want this or not :)
0 Likes   November 27, 2012 at 12:28PM
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Hi Cynthia,
Thanks for your comment. We would likely put some sort of wood transition piece to finish off the flooring issue (and eventually wood floors throughout), but my concern is whether opening the doorway would hurt future resale. Would buyers walk in and say "what the heck did they do?!?" As the house is a colonial, it's not a super open floorplan but we personally like more transitional style layouts. I'm just not sure if it would look right to take the wall out.
0 Likes   November 27, 2012 at 12:34PM
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Just wondering what is the distance of the pocket door on the other side, it might be best to keep both sides symmetrical.
0 Likes   November 27, 2012 at 1:04PM
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Can you provide more details or photos to better and more clearly "explain" the situation. It looks like you have a completely enclosed formal dining room and your question is: can we make the entry door wider when we remove the pocket door? And yet the photo posted shows it in relation to the kitchen. Which doorway do you wish to widen? (Buyers are notoriously picky about almost everything when walking through a sale house but especially so on "improvements" that did not in the end, improve anything.) Please post some more photos to get more assistance. madeline
0 Likes   November 27, 2012 at 1:05PM
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Here are some more pictures. One is looking into the dining room from the living room at the door in question - you can see the dining room isn't closed off from the living room, but it is pretty closed off from the kitchen via the small doorway that contains the pocket door. I also attached a very rough floor plan picture so you can see how the dining room works in relation to the kitchen and living room. Hope these help make the situation more clear. Thank you for your help!
0 Likes   November 27, 2012 at 2:37PM
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HI -- What do you think is going to be better if you do widen the doorway ? I don't see a purpose to widen it , you might be opening a can of worms . I would leave it the way it is or do the big reno and remove all the dividing walls and open the kitchen to the dining room . This then would involve the whole main floor and kitchen and the floors , too. Also if you do widen the doorway and you fix the floor like you said , then now you are getting into patch jobs and that's not good for resale.
0 Likes   November 27, 2012 at 2:52PM
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I would leave it as is. All it will do is provide an awkward view onto your kitchen countertops.

Down the road, if you want to remodel the kitchen and create a more open/informal dining concept, I would open up the wall the other way and put in an island.
0 Likes   November 27, 2012 at 2:52PM
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Is fixing the pocket door not an option?
0 Likes   November 27, 2012 at 5:21PM
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If the existence of the pocket door bothers you the door can be enclosed inside additional molding that would match on both sides of the doorway. That's what we did and it looked great. Like yours it was also a doorway between our kitchen and dining room and the D/R was off the front entry foyer. How wide is the doorway now? 30", 36"? Isn't it (the doorway or the pocket door) something you can live with until you do any major renovation down the line?
1 Like   November 27, 2012 at 6:11PM
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When I rennovated our kitchen in our very-similar colonial 9 years ago, we gutted the kitchen and bumped out 10 feet. Since I was completely redoing the cabinets, I widened both the doorway to my hallway and the doorway to the dining room (if you are standing in my kitchen). My purpose was to make things feel more open, as I hated how narrow the doorways were/confined it felt. It was a huge improvement, and friends/family commented on the open feeling it provided as much as they commented on the kitchen. The opening to the dining room is 41", and I love that the space feels more open, from views of both rooms! Can't imagine the doorways being smaller now.
If you are going to do this, you just need to make sure that it is structurally sound to do that / that you are not tampering with a load-bearing wall.
FYI, we had wood transition-pieces cut/stained for the dining room doorway since there are wood floors in there.
1 Like   November 27, 2012 at 7:22PM
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Thanks everyone for your comments... you have given us a lot to consider! For now I think we're going to leave the doorway as is (and potentially just cover up that pocket door as @madelinesdreaming suggested. I'll post pictures if we do anything major down the road. Thanks again!
0 Likes   November 28, 2012 at 5:31AM
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Hi emma0217: If I were still in that house I would send you photos of the finished product with pocket doors hidden. But I'm certain any good carpenter can do the job for you and no one will be the wiser.
Good luck, madeline
0 Likes   November 29, 2012 at 7:58PM
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Mia E
I'd leave the wall intact unless I was going to take walls down & open up the space all together.
Given the situation I would either a) get a large painting the size of the wall something bright & impressionist, or whatever suits or
b) get a large mirror cut ( good quality glass) for the wall, either would create the feel of expansion for me.
0 Likes   November 29, 2012 at 8:57PM
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